Goldsman‘s penchant for being over- sentimental (they're currently collaborating on The Da Vinci Code — the horror. the horror) doesn't scupper the emotional punch Braddock's story packs. That's largely down to Crowe‘s utterly convincing performance. Moulded in the style of old sonool Hollywood leading men (Burt Lancaster. Robert MItChum. Robert Ryan et at). he looks and feels every bit the part of an embattled pugilist who's trying to do right by his family the only way he knows how. And the supporting players — Paul Giamatti as Braddock's savvy coach, Bruce McGill as the money-grabbing ring manager — look like they stepped out of Golden Age Hollywood cinema. Only Renee Zellweger as Braddock's ever-Iovin‘ wife Mae looks out of place. It's not that she can't act — she just don't look like no Depression dame.
Cinderella Man '8 a tad sweet where other classic boxing movies. from The Set Up to Raging Bull, are unrelentineg sour. but like those films it tells a tale beyond the ring. and like those films it doesn't pull its punches inside the ropes. (Miles Fielder)
I General release from Fri 9 Sep.
DOCUMENTARY ROCK SCHOOL (15) 93min 0..
In 2002 the music TV channel VH1 sent a film crew into Paul Green's rock school to look at the potential of making a reality TV show on the premises. The idea was shelved. but by the end of 2003. VH1 's parent company Paramount was releasing School of Rock, Richard Linklater's uproarious comedy starring Jack Black. It's a pomt that Green's has enjoyed making in recent interviews. But there is very little doubt that Linklater's film opened the door for Don Argott's ultra low budget amiable documentary to get a release. as without its fictional counterpart. Rock School w0uld never have seen the light of day.
Filmed in nine months during 2003. Rock School follows the verbally abusive hysterics of Green as he coaches and berates a bunch of likeable nerdy school kids to become monsters of rock. Among his charges there is Will. the self-styled intellectual. Asa and Tucker, a couple of cute nine- year-olds with an obsessive mum. CJ the guitar god and Madi, a sweet— vOiced Quaker. In true rockumentary
fashion the film ends in a triumphant gig at the Zappanale festival in eastern Germany and. along the way. against all the odds. we learn to love both the man and the mini mutants he has created.
Filmed verite-style. Argott's film can hardly lay claim to the greatness its subjects clearly aspire to. Most of the time it comes across as a kind of amateur version of The Bad News Bears as shot by an intern at the deeply decrepit but informative Teacher TV channel. Films featuring ambitious kids are a fairly putrid proposition at the best of times but at least this mildly involving documentary has Green at its centre to add some bi-polar darkness to the mix.
(Paul Dale) I Selected release from Fri 9 Sep. See feature. page I 4.
HORROR WOLF CREEK (18) 94min eeee
First time writer director Greg McLean has weaved fact with a lot of fiction and Created the most gruesome picture since The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The premise. based on several true stories. is effortlessly simple. Mick Taylor (John Jarrett) goes to Wolf Creek. the site of Australia's largest meteorite crater. With two British backpackers (Cassandra Mcgrath and Kestie Morassi) but hell awaits them in the outback.
Alfred Hitchcock was a great exponent of how suspense and shock created different reactions in an audience. The great master believed the best horror films used suspense before Surprising or shocking the audience With an unforeseen gruesome event - the death of Janet Leigh in Psycho being a perfect example. Nothing in Wolf Creek is quite as surprising as this but knowntg what is coming does not lessen the impact of the gruesome events any. The first half of the mowe is spent getting to know and like the two British backpackers who are competing for the affection of their Australian travelling companion. The countryside is beautiful and McLean maintains the tension button by haying the trio run into several nasty but ultimately harmless characters.
When the much antiCipated shocking event does take place it is the stomach churning moment that Splatter fans have been waiting years for. But to write Wolf Creek off as a splatter mowe would be a serious disservice to the first rate filinmaking and the craftily ambiguous ending. (Kaleem Aftab)
I Selected release from Fri 76 Sep. See trite/View. right.
INTERVIEW BRUSH WITH MCLEAN
Kaleem Aftab meets GREG MCLEAN, a rising star of the horror film genre.
Greg McLean spent almost a decade stewing over how to make the perfect horror film. Two and a half years into a Fine Arts degree in Melbourne, he decided he was never going to make a living as a landscape painter and turned his attentions to creating a horror ﬁlm instead.
Now he is sitting in a London hotel room talking about his stomach churning Sundance hit Wolf Creek. It’s a simple and effective horror ﬁlm that is memorable for a single gut wrenching torture scene. That is, if you can stay in the cinema that long. He clearly revels in hearing about people walking out of his film.
‘It is interesting from an experimental point of view,’ he says. ‘The idea of sitting someone down and making them watch someone inﬂict pain on someone else is really great as an art or a scientific experiment. How long can people take it before they cannot watch any more? What is really amazing about this is our ability to empathise with something that is not real because in reality all we are doing is watching a bunch of images that were shot from some other place.’
McLean takes the theory and art of moviemaking very seriously. He believes storytellers who dip into the genre make the really great horror films. ‘Look at Spielberg’s Jaws, Kubrick’s The Shining and Hitchcock’s Psycho - those guys Spent a long time thinking about how those stories work, what images get to you and how they work. Ultimately it is all just storytelling. In movies if you don’t feel that you engage in the truth of the people, then nothing happens. There are heaps of crap horror ﬁlms where you are not engaged to begin with and so when the action starts you don’t really give a shit.’
For his own movie McLean followed one basic rule. ‘I’m a big Hitchcock fan and I remember him saying about thrillers that you need to create a likeable character and isolate them and I thought that the Australian outback is the most isolated place in the world and a great place to make a movie and tell a scary story.
Reading about the Snowtown murders and other cases of people going missing in the Outback, McLean knew he had a framework from which to work. As he awaited financing he kept thinking of more ways to make it gruesome. Thankfully for the faint-hearted, he only has a few months to work on the script of his next horror ﬂick.
I Wolf Creek is on selected release from Fri 16 Sep. See review, left.
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